2018 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition
It's been quite a few years since KTM dropped their first Factory Edition bike, allowing Ryan Dungey to lineup at Anaheim 1 on an all-new machine. Now Husqvarna has the same opportunity so Dean Wilson and Jason Anderson can go to the first race of the year with the latest equipment beneath them.
The latest generation 450 from Husky isn't a total overhaul but visually it's quite different. An all-new frame, coupled with an updated swingarm, and completely redesigned bodywork give the FC 450 a new and improved feel. The end goal was to make the bike more aggressive and responsive in the handling department, along with making the actual rider's area of the machine easier to move about with slimmer plastics and angles. The updated chassis had notable improvement on turn in and mid corner performance, feeling much more precise and allowing the front to rear of the bike to be more consistent. The rear of the new machine is also quite improved in corners, mostly on exits under heavy loads of power, where the Husky shows off a bit more stiffness... The previous machine would flex and bind a bit in these situations but the newer setup allowed us to slide the bike and plant it much more effectively.
As for the engine, power has been improved...not the pure output but the characteristic as it rolls on as smooth as the previous generation but revs quicker. This is a well accepted change as the previous model seemed a bit lethargic at times, taking too long to build the RPMs...especially in softer conditions.
Click play above to hear our thoughts and explanations on the bike and read below for some excerpts of our First Look on the FC 450 Rockstar Edition from the press launch a couple weeks ago.
"The cylinder and exhaust system are more compact than before, helping to centralize the weight of the bike. Trimming 15mm and a full pound off the SOHC powerplant is a plus, as is the better intake and exhaust flow that it allows. It's fed by a 44mm Keihin throttle body. On the exhaust side, it has a very unique-looking resonance chamber, and you've got a much shorter and more compact silencer that maintains the same sound level. Mechanics will appreciate that it can be removed without having to remove the shock.
It mates up with a new five-speed Pankl Racing Systems transmission. The DDS (Dampened Diaphragm Steel) clutch uses a single diaphragm steel pressure plate instead of traditional coil springs. The clutch basket is a single-piece CNC-machined steel component, and it's all controlled by a Magura hydraulic clutch lever. Claimed stock horsepower? 63 ponies.
There was a lot of work done on the WP Performance Systems-produced steel frame to increase the longitudinal rigidity, and that was matched with the stiffer CNC-machined upper triple clamp. The 70% polyamide/30% carbon fiber construction subframe also got an update, and has also been simplified into a two-piece unit. It's also a claimed half-pound lighter than before, and provides a different flex feel to match the frame.
We often see the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna team running the rear wheel well back into the swingarm slots, and they've added an additional 5mm of adjustment range to the back of the hollow, cast aluminum swingarm.
For suspension, the Husky continues on with the WP AER 48 fork, and uses a WP DCC rear shock with a new piston and updated setting."
- There's the carbon fiber reinforced skid plate, a billet Rekluse clutch cover and a two-position holeshot device.
- There's now a triple clamp protector integrated into the front number plate.
- There are still Brembo brakes on both ends, and up front there's a 260 mm floating front disc with standard front disc protector.
- You'll find a ProTaper handlebar with new bend, and handguards are standard.
- The e-start features a new generation Li-Ion 2.0 Ah battery
- The updated cooling system featuring new center tube, and radiators that were lowered 12mm.
- The fuel line moved inward for improved flow and added protection.
- You'll find an ODI Lock On grip on the left side (and a thermowelded one on the right). Throttle progression is adjustable, and the assembly has easy free-play adjustment.